Manuscripts & Book Culture


If you are interested in learning how medieval texts were written down, copied, preserved, and shared, you can find out more about medieval book culture using the following resources. You can also explore some digitized rare books and manuscripts from libraries with renowned medieval collections.

Rare books and manuscripts from Oxford’s Bodleian Library:

Harvard Library’s digital collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts:

The New York Morgan Library’s medieval and Renaissance manuscript collection:

Medieval manuscripts of France and England (searchable by theme, author, place of origin, or century):

You may consider delving into specific manuscripts.
Some are listed here below:

Aberdeen Bestiary
13th century compendium of entries on real and imaginary animals.

Domesday Book
Britain’s earliest public record and the most complete surviving record of any pre-industrial society.

Book of Kells 
A masterpiece of early Irish art housed in Dublin’s Trinity College Library.

Get a glimpse into the labour-intensive process of bookmaking
in the Middle Ages.

Discover more about social history of the Middle Ages through illuminated manuscripts in the following collections and projects.